Each year it is more humbling. Saturday, March 23, 2019 was our 19th year hosting Skate Without Limits to benefit United Cerebral Palsy of Metro Detroit. Thanks always seems like not enough to say to the UCP/Detroit Pucksters, the Detroit Red Wing Alumni, the Grand Rapids Sled Wings, Michigan Youth Sled Hockey and the UCP Sledsters. Our players and all their contributors and sponsors raised a tremendous amount for UCP/Detroit. Nearly $30,000 was brought in before we even opened the doors at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Arena.
Thank you to our sponsors—MGM Grand Detroit, Cathel Color, Doner Partners Advertising, and Cutters Studios. Thanks as always go to those who ran program ads, made in-kind donations, bought 50/50, played Chuck-A-Puck and bid in the silent auction.
In all, we raised nearly $40,000. Absolutely amazing (That is the humbling part--our players selflessly work to raise funds and to bring people to the event). And while thanks is not enough, we will continue to say thanks. And thanks again. Plus a special thank you to Mickey Redmond and the Wings Alumni who brought out Darren McCarty, Todd Bertuzzi, Red Berenson, Dave Coulier and many more.
Thanks also to coach Steve Kozlowski and assistant coach Dennis Hoekzema and the Grand Rapids Sled Wings for bringing the Juniors and an adult player over to for the sled hockey exhibition. They were joined by three players from the Michigan Youth Sled Hockey Yellow Jackets. Those players are Alex Gershon, Jenna Robertson and Anna Abrams (who, along with her parents Steve and Rhonda, got interested in sled hockey six years ago which led to forming the Yellow Jackets) The Sled Wing Juniors feature two former Yellow Jackets in Cate Evans and Charlie Warren and they recently own their league championship.
The UCP Sledsters welcomed back sled players Craig Duncan, Dan Hillis, Chuck Cassavoy, Chris Taylor, Pat Duffy, Alan Simonelli, Steve Spata and Chris Moore along with newcomer Roger Daubenmeyer (who scored in his first ever event). A little hiccup at the arena meant the ice could not be resurfaced. So these players really worked hard, up and down the ice and the game was close until two late goals by the dark team made it a 4-1 final. For the fourth year running Craig Duncan was our top sled money raiser for 2019, $3,561.09 with Chris Moore at $1,607.62, Alan Simonelli at $1,129.23 and Patrick Duffy at $1,067.41. In 2019, we had 11 Sledsters and Pucksters who each raised more than $1,000 to benefit UCP/Detroit! UCP Pucksters Frank Svincek ($2,074.01), Mike Ward ($2,455.76), Jay Adams ($1,707.79), Erich Wiemer ($1,194.55), Paul Dobroczynski ($1,057.13) Jake Cooper ($1,056.03) and Pat Seidel ($1,016.61). Thank you all!
Ali McManus (who received a UCP Life Without Limits Award last Fall) beautifully sang the national anthem like it has never been sung! Huge thank you mentions go to UCP/Detroit President & CEO, Leslynn Angel, along with Paul Landry, Sarah Johnson, Mary Davis and Tamara Kincaid.
Eric Threlkeld and his parents joined us for the ceremonial puck drop with Puckster Jay Adams and Red Wing Hall of Famer, Mickey Redmond. Thank you to UCP/Detroit and UCP/Michigan board members Gretchen Perkins, Andrew Maurer,David Brown, Steve Lyons, Michelle O’Connor-Teklinski, April and Rich Kaylor, Tom Landry, Patti Dudek, Kristen Milefchik, Ken Bluhm, Lou Reinwasser, Jacqueline Kaufman and Mark Lezotte who all pitched in.
Game Notes: With such a high powered line-up, we knew the Red Wing Alums would be tough. They got the first two goals then 2019 Pucksters got on the board only to have the Alums strike again for a 3-1 lead. The teams traded goals making it 5-2 soon after the break. The Pucksters tightened up the game at 5-4 before the Alums put the game away with four quick goals making it a 9-4 final. The Pucksters scoring began with a breakaway goal by Chris Clark assisted by Brian Bonsall and Jeff German. Then Brian Bonsall scored from linemates Rich Sommers and Chris Clark. Jay Adams got a hard fought goal from Jake Cooper and Craig Conrad. The fourth goal was another breakaway by Craig Conrad from Jake Cooper and Bob Weide.
Goalie Hardy Segall celebrated his birthday with a solid performance in the first half keeping the Pucksters close at 3-1. In the second half, Tyler Mikalonis took over for the Pucksters in goal and had to face a barrage of chances by Mickey Redmond, Jason Woolley, Todd Bertuzzi and Alex Foster as they got six goals in the period to skate off with the victory. Hats off to the Alums for going with the flow as the ice could not be resurfaced so skating and stickhandling was a challenge.
Thank you to the many volunteers, especially Angie Ward for spearheading the auction with help from Jamie Firman, Lisa Roman and Julie Yuergens. Plus Phyllis Shook for handling Chuck-A-Puck. Additional event help came from Kristen Cianci, Danny Ward, Paul Dobroczynski and Tyler Mikalonis.
And thank you Scott Campbell for taking amazing photos. Game photos are available at